On Nov. 13, 2015, a series of Islamist terrorist attacks shook the city of Paris. One hundred thirty people were killed and hundreds others injured in coordinated shootings and a suicide bombing that hit the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France stadium, and several bars and restaurants, all in the name of the Islamic State.
In the three years since, the Bataclan, now owned by a Qatari group, has staged provocative performances that some argue are not only pro-Muslim, but pro-Islamist. In April, when the venue announced a concert set to feature controversial rapper Medine, who has been criticized for attacks on France’s secularism, many determined that enough had now become enough. Led by Patrick Jardin, the father of one of the 90 victims of the Bataclan killing, a group calling itself “100 patriots” called for a “patriotic protest” against the planned Oct. 19 event.
The movement proved effective: just barely a month before the scheduled event, the Bataclan and Medine announced that, in a “conciliatory spirit” and “respect” for the victims’ families, the concert would not take place. While some have called the cancellation an attack on free speech, others are celebrating what they view as the correct decision. Medine will still perform, the statement read, but at an alternative venue.
But despite this “conciliation,” the pattern of producing such controversial events at the Bataclan has many Parisians distressed. Even the date of Qatar’s purchase of the property has raised hackles: Sept. 11, 2015 – two months before the attack and “an extremely symbolic date,” Pierre Cassen, one of the protest organizers, observed.